Robin Luce Martin and Lisa Amico Kristel met in 2014 at Salt Cay Writers Workshop in the beautiful Bahamas.
About a year later, they found each other again when Robin joined Lisa for dinner at Bo’s, Lisa’s New York City restaurant. When the pair stepped into the restaurant’s downstairs lounge, some alchemy of shrimp tacos and shared interests, alcohol and ambiance created a moment of synchronistic eureka—and the idea for a reading series emerged.
The dark and dreamy lounge at Bo’s cried out to host a literary soirée. And with a fully stocked bar, why not design a literary cocktail for each author? They added an open mic session for audience members, prepared the chef for more guests, and opened the doors.
On November 10, 2015, Téa Obreht, Dan Sheehan, and David Ebershoff took the stage at their very first reading.
Robin photographed the event, and Lisa jumped in as emcee. Yes, they started late, and by the time it was over, the authors and audience were starving. Still, it was a memorable opening night.
During the next five years, #YeahYouWrite flourished. Dinner and drinks were served prior to and quietly during the reading. Authors read the recipes of their cocktails, tasted them, and gave their verdict, and sometimes honored them with original poetry. A fun, rapid-fire Q&A about craft and other writerly pursuits was followed by authors sharing their worst review or rejection stories, which—almost 100% of the time—were more funny than sad. Once the reading was done, authors and guests stuck around to chat.
#YeahYouWrite has collaborated with writing programs (Aspen Words, Catapult, Community of Writers at Squaw Valley, DisQuiet), literary journals (Kweli, Big Other, One Story, Soul Sister Review), and a health-related charity (The Gold Foundation with Diagnosis: Literature). They presented contributors to the Letting Go anthology (M.E. Hughes, editor), a music-focused night with #YeahYouWriteLyrics, and traveled east for #YeahYouWriteMontauk one summer. They were set to host children’s authors with #YeahYouWriteKids (complete with #LiteraryCookies) before quarantine shut them down. Sigh.
Sadly, Bo’s did not survive the pandemic, but after a two-year hiatus, #YeahYouWrite returned to a new dreamscape: Long Island City’s favorite bistro, M. Wells.
The folks at M. Wells share the same respect for literature and community events that Robin and Lisa do. Along with art, French, and improv classes, they hosted the return of #YeahYouWrite in June & September 2022.
Their next adventure was #YeahYouWriteCatskill at Fahrenheit 451 House, with an artistic installation tracking their 5-plus year history (not including the 2 quarantined years!). Please visit the Past Events page to see how that turned out (hint: it was a well-attended and magical success).
They’ll let you know where they’ll be in 2023 soon!
Lisa dressed as #YeahYouWrite at the Electric Literature Halloween party
The installation at #YeahYouWrite Catskill (see Past Events page for October 2022 to view more)
photo by Bruce McClure
Robin Luce Martin
Robin Luce Martin writes stories, novels, and plays. Honors include the 2009 Tennessee Williams Fiction Prize for “1969,” the 2014 Dundee International Book Prize Shortlist, 2017 Del Sol First Novel Shortlist, San Francisco…
photo by Robin Luce Martin
Lisa Amico Kristel
Lisa Amico Kristel writes fiction—from literary to horror—and creative non-fiction. Once a computer programmer and still obsessed with precision and symmetry, she is co-founder and host of the #YeahYouWrite Author Series in New…